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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Thanks for judging A_S! You definitely should judge more often considering how well you did.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Penalising for being Human (Phoenix) strikes me as a little unfair, given that it's a prereq, and we had that discussion about how any human subraces would need to be extremely well justified.
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  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Anyone who saw this pop up in their subscribed threads and eagerly clicked looking for scores...check back later . Sorry, this is the "PONIES has an abstract discussion about judging methods & disputes" portion of our program.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    Very tempting, with just six entries... sounds a little similar to Kuulv's "instant runoff" experiment in IC: LIX. I tried to restrict myself to whole numbers in an attempt to speed things up for Dungeon Lord, but wound up with too many ties and had to resort to half-points. Without half-points, you'll want to put some thought into tie-breakers.
    Essentially, yes...but a more quantifiable version. Good insight about the difficulty caused by full points only.

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    I urge you as strongly asi can not to do this. You yourself anticipate the issues will cause, so already that's a sign.
    Ah yes, but just because trying something new has risks doesn't always mean that risky thing shouldn't be done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    As a teacher , it is unconscionable to award different grades to two or more people who have done the same quality of work.
    I wish someone had told my teachers this back in the day .

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    What you're suggesting is only assigning a certain number of As for arbitrary reasons rather than the actual quality of work.
    Note quite; what I'm suggesting is only assigning a certain number of As to those who exemplify mastery of a given category. Bs for those who demonstrate aptitude, Cs for those who represent competency, Ds for those who represent incompetent familiarity, and Fs for those who represent complete ignorance. Es don't exist because IIRC they were only created so students wouldn't feel so rubbish about getting Fs...is that right or is it an urban legend?

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    This Will screw over chefs in larger rounds even more Since you are implying the middle Will be the only one to grow.
    Hmm, didn't quite consider this implication...but perhaps that's because the perfectionist in me has always looked to improve, even if I received a 100% grade.

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    Having set grades also means if everyone does well or poorly your judging will not accurately reflect this.
    Fair point. Should all builds be unoriginal, for instance, a 5 would represent nothing more than "the best bad option," to quote Argo. Not Fargo--they're different.

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    I understand your desire to avoid having to justify your judging at length by having a system that has no room for argument in It but this is not the way. If you don't want to explain yourself toa dissatisfied chef you have to. It doesn't Mean you need to change your rubric
    Wait, what? I always took it that judging carried with it a commitment to respond to disputes. If I can just give them the cold shoulder, that changes everything. Nah, I love having to justify my judging at length (mostly because I have that problem where I like to listen to myself talk type). I realize that every system has room for argument; the reason I wanted to move to stack ranking is because that's how contestants have been responding to my scores in the past. If I said, "Your build isn't too powerful for the following reasons," chefs have often come back with "out of this round, here's why my build is more powerful than the others." Since that seemed to be the lingua franca, I figured judging comparatively instead of in a vacuum might be a welcome change.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliomance View Post
    I'm... really not a fan of grading on a curve, in general. I'm significantly dubious about the idea.
    Duly noted. I can't expect to drop a new scoring method on everyone without Chairwoman approval. I'll stick to my individual scoring method for now. For kicks & giggles, I'll also take a look at what the scores would have been if I had stack ranked. Should any interesting findings emerge, I'll share them with the class.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Viscount View Post
    I would advise against this. This system creates a flat disparity between entries regardless of actual skill. If a single entry outshines a mediocre rest, this entry is only a tad above, enough to be displaced by a dispute. If a single entry is illegal, not done right, or simply much worse than the one above it is only a tad below, enough to shift up from a dispute.
    This is reminiscent of the group's discussions around whether illegal builds should still be scored at all a few rounds back. In my proposed system, there is a maximum margin of 16 between the worst conceivable build and the best. The worst conceivable build would receive a 1 in all categories, while the best receives a 5. However, I understand what you're saying; in practice, most scores would fall closer to the middle of the spectrum and thus the spread between builds might be closer. Also, if we look only at the level of an individual category...if 5/6 builds had completely rubbish Power, all of them would not receive 1s. Thus, what may have been the difference b/w a 1 in 2nd place and a 5 in 1st place would have the gap closed to a 4 in 2nd place and a 5 in 1st place. Interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    This system will make it much harder on you, because it means you cannot judge entries individually. In order to assign any score you have to read and fully asses all entries. In a round like dragon disciple where we have 20 entries, deciding which fraction of a point each gradation gets will be intensely annoying as well. Also, the more entries, the closer everyone gets, and the greater incentive to dispute.
    The problem is that I already read and fully assess all entries before assigning scores. This is mostly a matter of consistency; if I'm calling a feat tree "unique" in Build 2, I want to make sure I'm calling the same feat tree unique in Build 13 (or that it's not unique in either). You make an astute point about how more entries would complicate this method and make the scores "too close for comfort," though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    I love your current system of judging because it lets us know exactly what you are looking for, objectively. If we must compete subjectively with everyone else for your attention, it will be impossible to properly build to expectations.
    I have one expectation: build something you're proud of. Everything else is just infrastructure. Build for your own approval, not mine. If I find out anyone is building specifically to cater to my expectations, I'll give you 0s across the board . Heck, I'm still trying to use Ember Flamereader in a game, and she got a score of "NaN."

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    I understand your pain with the rising number of disputes, and it worries me as well, but the chefs are a contentious and bitter lot, and they will dispute regardless of system. That being said, if disputing is your largest concern, I do not see this helping. It might actually be time to enforce some rules about the dispute process.
    A drum I have been beating for how many rounds now? My problem is not the rising number of disputes, but the content of them. If the number was rising but every dispute pointed out clearly how a judge fudged the math or misread the rules, I'd be all for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by dysprosium View Post
    I hope you will be able to. Your judging comments are greatly appreciated.
    Glad someone thinks so .

    Quote Originally Posted by dysprosium View Post
    Though when I first read this I was reminded of Round LIX and how you did there. There are similarities between the two systems and it could work. At least with Round LIX the possibility existed for more than one entry to have the best score. There were multiple entries that had the top rating in each of the categories.

    Let me put it this way. If there are say three entries this round that really pique your interest with Originality, you should give all three high marks and not try to figure out which one of those three were better than the others.
    So in a race, if the fast competitor completes in 6:00, 2nd finishes in 6:01, 3rd finishes in 6:02, 4th crosses the line at 10:34, 5th is done in 11:02, and 6th brings up the rear at 12:12, should I give gold medals to our first three finishers? Not trying to sound difficult; just trying to play devil's advocate to help us dig into the idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by dysprosium View Post
    I know you have posted about the rising within the disputing process and I believe, like the others have said that your system as is now could create more
    I would posit that the rising trend in disputes has more to do with the competitive spirit of our chefs than the particular system any judge or judges use to evaluate them . However, if anyone's curious here's the most recent data around our tendency to dispute:


    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq View Post
    My first half-formed idea was to go into Soulbow with Zen Archery, thereby double-dipping on WIS to attack and damage. I was possibly going to use PsyWar to pick up some bonus feats and add even more WIS synergy. But it just required too many feats to really come together, and it peaked pretty early on (meaning that the latter part of the build just kind of sat there).
    Soulbow with Zen Archery sounds like a really unique approach! I also didn't even think of PsyWar for picking up bonus feats with a WIS focus...shame on me!

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq View Post
    I had a couple ideas that weren't even half-formed (maybe quarter-formed): Spellthief, to let the bonuses against spells make Absorb Spell easier (that fell flat because Absorb Spell is based on your Spellthief level, which is basically impossible to advance outside of bloodlines, and I don't touch bloodlines).
    My thoughts every single time I want to use Spellthief. Why did they give it such interesting class features with so little support?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq View Post
    I might—MIGHT—judge this round.
    Propose a new method of judging; folks seem to enjoy that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq View Post
    I started a new job yesterday (woo!), so my time's more spoken for than it has been in a while, but it's only a part-time job, and there aren't THAT many entries. I'll see just how mentally taxing the job ends up being. No promises, though.
    Congrats!

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    I'd be open to hearing some rules re: disputes. not disputing if you're not in the running for a medal would really cut down on wait time.
    Indeed, but what defines "in the running for a medal?" For example, if I'm in last place but I believe the judge was wrong on every single salient point of my build, a change in score of that magnitude could send me on a rocket ride to Gold. WRT Dispute Rules, they were proposed a few times in past competitions when Ozymandias & Private Prinny were chairs:

    Spoiler: Private Prinny's Suggestion
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    Regarding any and all disputes:

    If you feel the need to point out something, there are exactly 2 things that I will pay attention to for the judges scores to be altered. Neither is debatable, therefore they have a place here.

    1. If a judge has made a rules error that significantly affects their score, cite the correct passage i.e. Shneeky's judging of Braham or Nefarious Tate. The level of Duskblade spells, or the CL of a Nar Demonbinder (p.26 of UE) is an undisputable fact, and a clear mistake that needs to be corrected. If a contestant fears for their anonymity, they can feel free to PM me with these concerns. Always cite the book, page, and possibly passage.

    2. If a judge marks down a build explicitly for a certain factor, and ignores that factor in a different build, bring it up. The judges are reasonable people, only looking to be fair. Only*explicit deductions*are eligible for this, since something that only deserves a passing mention may not be a large enough part of their scoring process.

    The above represent the written rules regarding the entry, or a judge's consistency in their scoring. Any other disputes, such as the viability of a certain technique or exactly how original an entry is, will be nipped in the bud. They gum up the thread, accomplish little to nothing, and are otherwise unacceptable.


    Spoiler: Ozymandias' Suggestion
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    In deciding which disputes to present, I had to put aside quite a few this round. For brief reference: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/shows...&postcount=307

    Not Even a Dispute
    • Math Errors

    Valid Disputes
    • Rules Error (If I can resolve it definitively one way or another, I will. These will be handled immediately rather than with other disputes)
    • You believe that the judge overlooked a specific element of your build
    • You believe that the judge misunderstood the purpose, function, or scope of a specific element of your build
    • There is an element in the judge's posted criteria (if they have one) that you believe you qualify for but which was not applied
    • Another entry was scored differently for the*exact*same thing. Note the word exact. If there is a difference (even if you don't feel it was substantive), I'm not going to present it. A good example would be if everyone else were scored down 1 point for using Stoneblessed and you were scored down 1.5.

    Not a Valid Dispute
    • Points Awarded or Deducted for elements not listed in a Judge's posted criteria
    • Disagreements over the Judge's scoring methodology or judgment


    Quote Originally Posted by A_S View Post
    Judgings! Let the disputes commence.
    Sweet, I've updated the scoring archive (and thanks for the sig link, by the way). One point of arithmetic: Shiba Sanjuu's UoSI score is listed as 2.75, but tallying the adjustments from your bullet points actually brings me to 2.25. Did I do my math wrong, or should Sanjuu's UoSI stay at 2.75 due to judge's math error?

    Standings After One Judge (Before Disputes)
    Entry Place Total Average
    Fang Xue Gold 16 4
    Shiba Daisuke Silver 14.25 3.5625
    Iron Bear Bronze 13.5 3.375
    Shiba Sanjuu Fourth 9.75 2.4375
    Fletcher's Flame Fifth 8.5 2.125
    Sam Urai Sixth 8 2
    Last edited by OMG PONIES; 2015-06-25 at 07:04 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaz View Post
    Ponies, the Kim Karsdashian of GITP.
    This is what happens when they let me DM:
    Beyond the Horizon IC / OOC
    A Time to Die: Alpha IC / Bravo IC / OOC

  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliomance View Post
    Penalising for being Human (Phoenix) strikes me as a little unfair, given that it's a prereq, and we had that discussion about how any human subraces would need to be extremely well justified.
    I agree it's a bad rule, but at least he applied it consistently and punished all the humans and rewarded the nonhuman. it reminds me of when ponies slammed everyone in shadowdancer who didn't take darkstalker and rewarded the 2 builds who did.

    Quote Originally Posted by OMG PONIES View Post
    Anyone who saw this pop up in their subscribed threads and eagerly clicked looking for scores...check back later . Sorry, this is the "PONIES has an abstract discussion about judging methods & disputes" portion of our program.
    why did you ask for feedback if you're just going to ignore everything everybody said?

    Ah yes, but just because trying something new has risks doesn't always mean that risky thing shouldn't be done.
    no one said "don't do this because it's risky" we said "don't do this because it's a bad way to judge"

    I wish someone had told my teachers this back in the day .
    well here's your chance to be better than them and not worse


    Note quite; what I'm suggesting is only assigning a certain number of As to those who exemplify mastery of a given category. Bs for those who demonstrate aptitude, Cs for those who represent competency, Ds for those who represent incompetent familiarity, and Fs for those who represent complete ignorance.
    no. since the grades are preset, they have nothing to do with quality. if you have two A-level builds, you will be purposely not rewarding one of them because of Reasons, rather than actual quality of the build. what you're describing is how your existing, good judging style functions.


    Hmm, didn't quite consider this implication...but perhaps that's because the perfectionist in me has always looked to improve, even if I received a 100% grade.
    are you one of those people who will give someone a 99 on a paper and then when they ask what's wrong say "there's no such thing as a perfect paper" ?

    Fair point. Should all builds be unoriginal, for instance, a 5 would represent nothing more than "the best bad option," to quote Argo. Not Fargo--they're different.
    yes, which is why you shouldn't do this.


    Wait, what? I always took it that judging carried with it a commitment to respond to disputes. If I can just give them the cold shoulder, that changes everything. Nah, I love having to justify my judging at length (mostly because I have that problem where I like to listen to myself talk type). I realize that every system has room for argument; the reason I wanted to move to stack ranking is because that's how contestants have been responding to my scores in the past. If I said, "Your build isn't too powerful for the following reasons," chefs have often come back with "out of this round, here's why my build is more powerful than the others." Since that seemed to be the lingua franca, I figured judging comparatively instead of in a vacuum might be a welcome change.
    not really.

    you complained last round about having to justify yourself to vacuous disputes, so if you don't feel like it, you shouldn't have to. that's your real problem with judging from what I see through your posts, not the way you score. if anything, you will have to fight a million times more disputes with this metric because of how bad it is, it universal disapproval, and the fact that it won't let you accurately reflect your opinions, much less the objective quality of the dishes.

    if chefs keep complaining, but have no substance to their disputes, you can ignore them and say "no change." it's not a reason to wreck your criteria to spite them.


    Duly noted. I can't expect to drop a new scoring method on everyone without Chairwoman approval. I'll stick to my individual scoring method for now. For kicks & giggles, I'll also take a look at what the scores would have been if I had stack ranked. Should any interesting findings emerge, I'll share them with the class.
    thank god. glad that's settled. wish you'd lead with this before I had a heart attack.

    This is reminiscent of the group's discussions around whether illegal builds should still be scored at all a few rounds back. In my proposed system, there is a maximum margin of 16 between the worst conceivable build and the best. The worst conceivable build would receive a 1 in all categories, while the best receives a 5. However, I understand what you're saying; in practice, most scores would fall closer to the middle of the spectrum and thus the spread between builds might be closer. Also, if we look only at the level of an individual category...if 5/6 builds had completely rubbish Power, all of them would not receive 1s. Thus, what may have been the difference b/w a 1 in 2nd place and a 5 in 1st place would have the gap closed to a 4 in 2nd place and a 5 in 1st place. Interesting.
    illegal builds should not be scored at all.

    being judged is a privilege, not a right. you earn this privilege by following the rules. if you spit in the faces of the other chefs by giving yourself free LA, or gestalting or whatever nonsense, you forfeit that privilege. to do otherwise is disrespectful to chefs who do things the right way.

    having a pre-set difference of any number between best and worst is wrong. dishes can sometimes exceed it. illegal dishes do not even deserve a score at all. I know some judges disagree with this, but even they will at least award zeroes in one or more categories. refusing to do this will sometime place illegal ingredients ahead of real ones, which is unconscionable.

    if 5/6 builds are rubbish in power and have a 1, then they all deserve a 1. giving one of them a 5 makes no sense. I know that it stems from wanting to make the scores so far apart from each other that no one will bother to dispute you, but again, this is not the way to solve that problem.

    The problem is that I already read and fully assess all entries before assigning scores. This is mostly a matter of consistency; if I'm calling a feat tree "unique" in Build 2, I want to make sure I'm calling the same feat tree unique in Build 13 (or that it's not unique in either). You make an astute point about how more entries would complicate this method and make the scores "too close for comfort," though.
    no one's saying you don't read. we're saying that the point of judging is to evaluate based on a dish's own merits, not how it stands up to others. yes, you've always been good about consistency, and this new system would render that impossible.

    I have one expectation: build something you're proud of. Everything else is just infrastructure. Build for your own approval, not mine. If I find out anyone is building specifically to cater to my expectations, I'll give you 0s across the board . Heck, I'm still trying to use Ember Flamereader in a game, and she got a score of "NaN."
    people have been doomsaying about "building to the judges" since day 1, but I really don't think it's ever gonna happen. even though we've had you and many others as a judge before, it's not really possible to cook to pander to one judge or the other. besides, since most rounds have more than one judge, it'll cancel out anyway since judges often have mutually exclusive criteria (e.g. one will penalize for human, one will penalize for nonhuman) so it's not like it matters.

    A drum I have been beating for how many rounds now? My problem is not the rising number of disputes, but the content of them. If the number was rising but every dispute pointed out clearly how a judge fudged the math or misread the rules, I'd be all for it.
    right, I agree with you, as discussed I think in the last thread.

    Glad someone thinks so .
    he just wants you to give him your one existing 5


    So in a race, if the fast competitor completes in 6:00, 2nd finishes in 6:01, 3rd finishes in 6:02, 4th crosses the line at 10:34, 5th is done in 11:02, and 6th brings up the rear at 12:12, should I give gold medals to our first three finishers? Not trying to sound difficult; just trying to play devil's advocate to help us dig into the idea.
    that's a false analogy and you know it. dishes are, to a certain degree, subjective. it's not like we all meet some number of objective standard like running a race. if that were the case, we wouldn't need judges at all.

    Indeed, but what defines "in the running for a medal?" For example, if I'm in last place but I believe the judge was wrong on every single salient point of my build, a change in score of that magnitude could send me on a rocket ride to Gold. WRT Dispute Rules, they were proposed a few times in past competitions when Ozymandias & Private Prinny were chairs:
    being one point away.

    that example will never make a difference. if you're in last, you're probably trailing by five or six points. a judge is never going to give you that many. disputes have historically given at most .75-1.25 points back. I tink it'd be extremely generous to say "in the running" meaning "lagging 1.25 or less behind bronze." and otherwise not to waste everyone's time.
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  5. - Top - End - #155
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger
    no one's saying you don't read. we're saying that the point of judging is to evaluate based on a dish's own merits, not how it stands up to others. yes, you've always been good about consistency, and this new system would render that impossible.
    Point of order:

    Several judges and contestants have historically disagreed with this stance, and have judged builds against the other ones presented, rather than against a hypothetical ideal. The argument goes that this method prevents contestants from having to compete against a build the judge envisioned but nobody presented. There have been rounds in the past where nobody scored higher than something like 3.5 in a category simply because the judge doing that scoring saw a particular trick nobody used (perhaps because of The Vizzini Effect).
    Iron Chef in the Playground veteran since Round IV. Play as me!


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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    A physically timed race has a clear winner. It is the person who comes first across the finish line. There is no subjectivity involved. The person who crossed the finish line first doesn't lose because the person who crossed last looked better while running.

    Competitions like these don't have that kind of luxury. Yes there is the infrastructure that you mentioned but it really is only part of the whole. More than likely no two builds are going to be the same and that is where the subjectivity comes in.

    All I was saying, which was echoed by others, was that awarding points 5/4/3/2/1 won't solve the problem when say for example, four of the six builds really lack any power at all. One or two of those builds that lacks power are going to get a higher score than it "should."

    Similarly, let's say three builds are all mechanically sound, qualify for every feat, skill trick, prestige class, etc. None of these three rely on crazy RAW shenanigans to function and any of them can be inserted at any table with no difficulty. Only one of them is going to get the 5. One is going to get a 4 and another is going to get a 3 (which will rank him the same as an entry with some questionable RAW or not qualifying for things or what have you).

    These things are making more sense in my head. I hope I am conveying what I'm trying to say clearly.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by dysprosium View Post
    A physically timed race has a clear winner. It is the person who comes first across the finish line. There is no subjectivity involved. The person who crossed the finish line first doesn't lose because the person who crossed last looked better while running.

    Competitions like these don't have that kind of luxury. Yes there is the infrastructure that you mentioned but it really is only part of the whole. More than likely no two builds are going to be the same and that is where the subjectivity comes in.

    All I was saying, which was echoed by others, was that awarding points 5/4/3/2/1 won't solve the problem when say for example, four of the six builds really lack any power at all. One or two of those builds that lacks power are going to get a higher score than it "should."

    Similarly, let's say three builds are all mechanically sound, qualify for every feat, skill trick, prestige class, etc. None of these three rely on crazy RAW shenanigans to function and any of them can be inserted at any table with no difficulty. Only one of them is going to get the 5. One is going to get a 4 and another is going to get a 3 (which will rank him the same as an entry with some questionable RAW or not qualifying for things or what have you).

    These things are making more sense in my head. I hope I am conveying what I'm trying to say clearly.
    No you articulated yourself perfectly well. Your points are well made; you're being too hard on yourself

    In that analogy, the problems you mentioned are evident. Since we are at the stage where we decide into tortured metaphors, to use ponies example it would be like if the runners all had the same time but you assigned them different places
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    illegal builds should not be scored at all.
    I vehemently disagree with this. There is existing guidance in the FAQ that explains what happens if a judge thinks a build is "illegal":

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Chef FAQ
    If a judge is convinced that an entry is mechanically illegal by the RAW, the judge may give the build a score of 0 in Elegance, and proceed to judge the entry as if the offending material was not included.
    In the interests of pedantry:

    1) "Legal" is not a binary issue. Many groups or players have a wide variety of interpretations for how the rules should work. Even that warped yardstick of "RAW" is a messy, messy can of worms full of hyperbolic contortions and salacious recriminations.

    2) Most contestants do not set out to deliberately waste the judge's time, and almost all qualification issues are honest mistakes or something the contestant misunderstood. If they made a good-faith effort to submit something, then I think it behooves the judge to do his best to inform them how the build can be improved. Refusing to judge teaches them nothing useful. [Except, of course, for me. If you see me doing something deliberately illegal, you can go ahead and give me zeros. =)]

    3) I would like to reserve the right for contestants to "color outside the lines" because I believe it may result in more creative dishes or new optimization tricks that could inspire others to experiment with similar tricks. Entries that break the rules can still generate insightful discussion and a deeper understanding of why the rules work the way they do.

    4) "But a FTQ could score higher than a legal build! That's unfair!" Poop happens. If a FTQ beats out your build, then there are probably some *really* good reasons why it did so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    being judged is a privilege, not a right. you earn this privilege by following the rules. if you spit in the faces of the other chefs by giving yourself free LA, or gestalting or whatever nonsense, you forfeit that privilege. to do otherwise is disrespectful to chefs who do things the right way.
    You can't teach someone how to play the piano better by cutting off their fingers when they screw up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    that example will never make a difference. if you're in last, you're probably trailing by five or six points. a judge is never going to give you that many. disputes have historically given at most .75-1.25 points back. I tink it'd be extremely generous to say "in the running" meaning "lagging 1.25 or less behind bronze." and otherwise not to waste everyone's time.
    We've seen large point swings before. A rules clarification could turn a 0 or 1 into a 3 or 4. The addition of a new judge can also jumble up the rankings quite a bit, and it's hard to know when another judge will post scores. I'm hesitant to restrict disputes to only those builds "in the running". In the last IC, Karl was absolutely dead last, and scored so poorly there was no hope I could argue him into "placing" territory. So I seriously debated with myself over keeping my mouth shut and letting it stand. But I eventually decided to send a dispute anyway. My reasoning:

    1) The first issue was a math error, and I couldn't figure out how Ponies thought I'd spent 34 points on my stats. In all the restrictions I've seen for disputes, "math errors" is at the top of the list for things you can legitimately dispute.

    2) The Soul Eater issue affected another build that was close to placing.

    3) I post to the Iron Chef thread to argue about discuss things. Not arguing about discussing things, particularly a thing I had created, seemed counter-intuitive. (Or rather, I was feeling embarrassed and defensive about such a poor showing, and I hoped that a well-reasoned discourse would show that... I wasn't deliberately trying to waste people's time? I dunno, I'm a bit fuzzy on this one.)

    When I dispute something, I try to restrict myself to a single dispute post. The dispute has to be a math error or a rules error. If the judge is expressing an opinion over the appropriateness of "cheese", then I leave that out of the post if at all possible. Judges are allowed to have opinions. That's the entire point of being a judge.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by OMG PONIES View Post
    I would posit that the rising trend in disputes has more to do with the competitive spirit of our chefs than the particular system any judge or judges use to evaluate them . However, if anyone's curious here's the most recent data around our tendency to dispute:
    While it certainly rose sharply from around round ~35 to ~55, since then i'd say the spead seems to be to inconsistently spead to make call it a average raise since then, just a wider distribution sticking in all directions. If anything it looks like there might be a very slightly lower average dispute rate since about 60 although its hardly noticeable.

    If you can post the raw numbers it might be interesting to look at a graph in which each point lists say 5 rounds with a reasonable overlap (starting at say 31-35, 33-37, 35-39 and so on up to present time), that might make it easier to see if there is any tendency

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    I vehemently disagree with this. There is existing guidance in the FAQ that explains what happens if a judge thinks a build is "illegal":



    In the interests of pedantry:

    1) "Legal" is not a binary issue. Many groups or players have a wide variety of interpretations for how the rules should work. Even that warped yardstick of "RAW" is a messy, messy can of worms full of hyperbolic contortions and salacious recriminations.

    2) Most contestants do not set out to deliberately waste the judge's time, and almost all qualification issues are honest mistakes or something the contestant misunderstood. If they made a good-faith effort to submit something, then I think it behooves the judge to do his best to inform them how the build can be improved. Refusing to judge teaches them nothing useful. [Except, of course, for me. If you see me doing something deliberately illegal, you can go ahead and give me zeros. =)]

    3) I would like to reserve the right for contestants to "color outside the lines" because I believe it may result in more creative dishes or new optimization tricks that could inspire others to experiment with similar tricks. Entries that break the rules can still generate insightful discussion and a deeper understanding of why the rules work the way they do.

    4) "But a FTQ could score higher than a legal build! That's unfair!" Poop happens. If a FTQ beats out your build, then there are probably some *really* good reasons why it did so.



    You can't teach someone how to play the piano better by cutting off their fingers when they screw up.



    We've seen large point swings before. A rules clarification could turn a 0 or 1 into a 3 or 4. The addition of a new judge can also jumble up the rankings quite a bit, and it's hard to know when another judge will post scores. I'm hesitant to restrict disputes to only those builds "in the running". In the last IC, Karl was absolutely dead last, and scored so poorly there was no hope I could argue him into "placing" territory. So I seriously debated with myself over keeping my mouth shut and letting it stand. But I eventually decided to send a dispute anyway. My reasoning:

    1) The first issue was a math error, and I couldn't figure out how Ponies thought I'd spent 34 points on my stats. In all the restrictions I've seen for disputes, "math errors" is at the top of the list for things you can legitimately dispute.

    2) The Soul Eater issue affected another build that was close to placing.

    3) I post to the Iron Chef thread to argue about discuss things. Not arguing about discussing things, particularly a thing I had created, seemed counter-intuitive. (Or rather, I was feeling embarrassed and defensive about such a poor showing, and I hoped that a well-reasoned discourse would show that... I wasn't deliberately trying to waste people's time? I dunno, I'm a bit fuzzy on this one.)
    ,
    I agree with every one of your points. My apologies I should have been more clear. By illegali meant by iron chef rules as I said like using gestalt or spell points or something not by missing a skill rank to qualify for the Secret ingredient


    I understand motivations for disputing last round and apologize if it seemed like I was insulting you that my intent. I can understand wanting to seta precedent witha ruling even if you get a medal
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    Quote Originally Posted by weckar View Post
    Venger, can you be my full-time memory aid please?
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Thanks for the kind words on my judgings, folks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliomance View Post
    Penalising for being Human (Phoenix) strikes me as a little unfair, given that it's a prereq, and we had that discussion about how any human subraces would need to be extremely well justified.
    I scored them that way in order to be as consistent as possible with the rubric I posted ahead of time. That said, I'm not terribly invested in whether that penalty gets applied or not. Would you like me to change it? The net effect would be +.25 for every build besides Iron Bear.

    Quote Originally Posted by OMG PONIES View Post
    One point of arithmetic: Shiba Sanjuu's UoSI score is listed as 2.75, but tallying the adjustments from your bullet points actually brings me to 2.25. Did I do my math wrong, or should Sanjuu's UoSI stay at 2.75 due to judge's math error?
    This is my arithmetic error. I'm inclined to change it, since otherwise it seems unfair to the other contestants (they all got penalized if they didn't make good use of the SI's features, but Shiba Sanjuu effectively didn't if we let my error stand). Is there a standing policy on what to do in the case of a judge's clear mistake?
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by A_S View Post
    Thanks for the kind words on my judgings, folks.


    I scored them that way in order to be as consistent as possible with the rubric I posted ahead of time. That said, I'm not terribly invested in whether that penalty gets applied or not. Would you like me to change it? The net effect would be +.25 for every build besides Iron Bear.


    This is my arithmetic error. I'm inclined to change it, since otherwise it seems unfair to the other contestants (they all got penalized if they didn't make good use of the SI's features, but Shiba Sanjuu effectively didn't if we let my error stand). Is there a standing policy on what to do in the case of a judge's clear mistake?
    Since you gave iron bear a bonus I'd suggest giving him the same positive adJustment.

    Yes in the instance of a judge adding wrong we change it. He's just joking
    Last edited by Venger; 2015-06-25 at 12:22 PM.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by A_S View Post
    I scored them that way in order to be as consistent as possible with the rubric I posted ahead of time. That said, I'm not terribly invested in whether that penalty gets applied or not. Would you like me to change it? The net effect would be +.25 for every build besides Iron Bear.
    I'm in favor of removing the penalties for the reason Heliomance stated. I'm not sure that matching the "setting fluff" should be the goal of an Iron Chef competition, but the discussion before the entries were posted was pretty blunt about encouraging people to adhere to the campaign setting material or warning them away from convoluted racial snowflakery. It doesn't change the existing standings, but the +.25 could become more important if additional judges weigh in.

    Quote Originally Posted by A_S View Post
    This is my arithmetic error. I'm inclined to change it, since otherwise it seems unfair to the other contestants (they all got penalized if they didn't make good use of the SI's features, but Shiba Sanjuu effectively didn't if we let my error stand). Is there a standing policy on what to do in the case of a judge's clear mistake?
    Standing policy is the judge just edits the post when the error gets pointed out. There's no need for a rigorous "math error" formal dispute process.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    Since you gave iron bear a bonus I'd suggest giving him the same positive adJustment.
    Erm, why? Iron Bear is already receiving the bonus (+.25) I thought should apply for an unexpected race. If I'm being told, "you shouldn't have penalized for using the expected race," shouldn't I just remove those penalties and leave bonuses alone? Iron Bear will still be getting more points out of his race than the others, just not by as much.

    To my mind, increasing Iron Bear's bonus seems like it's not in the spirit of "following the Chairwoman's instructions," and more like "retroactively reassessing how much I think a bonus should be worth specifically so that the change the Chairwoman is asking me to make won't make any difference." Which seems not super fair to me.

    Anyway...I'll wait on Heliomance's word on whether that was a Chairperson Instruction or just general commentary.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by A_S View Post
    Erm, why? Iron Bear is already receiving the bonus (+.25) I thought should apply for an unexpected race. If I'm being told, "you shouldn't have penalized for using the expected race," shouldn't I just remove those penalties and leave bonuses alone? Iron Bear will still be getting more points out of his race than the others, just not by as much.

    To my mind, increasing Iron Bear's bonus seems like it's not in the spirit of "following the Chairwoman's instructions," and more like "retroactively reassessing how much I think a bonus should be worth specifically so that the change the Chairwoman is asking me to make won't make any difference." Which seems not super fair to me.

    Anyway...I'll wait on Heliomance's word on whether that was a Chairperson Instruction or just general commentary.
    Oh sorry I misunderstood. Yeah removing the penalty sound like it makes the most sense. That way he still gets the bonus you gave him
    Last edited by Venger; 2015-06-25 at 12:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Okay, can we all stop jumping down Ponies' throat now? He's sticking to the old metric, it's fine, we can stop that discussion now. It was getting quite heated, and i'd like this to stay a friendly place.

    Ponies, I rather like Ozymandias' guidelines. Think I might adopt those.

    A_S, consider it... pointed commentary. If you'd rather keep the penalty that's your prerogative as a judge, but I'd prefer it to be nixed. By all means though, keep Iron Bear's bonus.

    I do actually have a couple of disputes that I'll post when I get on a computer - I'm posting from my phone atm,thus the lack of quotes.
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    The only person in the past two pages who has known what (s)he has been talking about is Heliomance.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Having read the disputes, I'm only going to post one of them, pending further discussion with the originator of the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shiba Sanjuu
    I was all full of piss & vinegar to argue why my scores should be higher but... my most serious crime appears to be boring the judge. And I don't think I can argue against that. In fact, I think the only thing I can complain about is my "Use of the Secret Ingredient" is higher than it should be. Unless I was getting points from something else, 3 - 0.5 - 2.5 = 2.25.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalirren View Post
    The only person in the past two pages who has known what (s)he has been talking about is Heliomance.
    Quote Originally Posted by golentan View Post
    I just don't want to have long romantic conversations or any sort of drama with my computer, okay? It knows what kind of porn I watch. I don't want to mess that up by allowing it to judge any of my choices in romance.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliomance View Post
    A_S, consider it... pointed commentary. If you'd rather keep the penalty that's your prerogative as a judge, but I'd prefer it to be nixed. By all means though, keep Iron Bear's bonus.
    If you'd prefer it changed, I'll change it. My only reason to want to keep it was a general "I ought to stick to what my rubric said about unexpected races" kinda thing, plus a general desire to be conservative about changing scores. But as you say, even just keeping just the bonus is still consistent with my rubric.

    Either way, advice taken; I won't apply that kind of penalty if it comes up next time I judge. Editing judging post now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shiba Sanjuu View Post
    I was all full of piss & vinegar to argue why my scores should be higher but... my most serious crime appears to be boring the judge. And I don't think I can argue against that. In fact, I think the only thing I can complain about is my "Use of the Secret Ingredient" is higher than it should be. Unless I was getting points from something else, 3 - 0.5 - 2.5 = 2.25.
    Already pointed out by PONIES and fixed.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Progress report: I've completed 3/6 judgings. My writeups tend to be more verbose than others, so it'll be several days until I'm finished.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    are you one of those people who will give someone a 99 on a paper and then when they ask what's wrong say "there's no such thing as a perfect paper"?
    You've seen me judge before, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliomance View Post
    Okay, can we all stop jumping down Ponies' throat now? He's sticking to the old metric, it's fine, we can stop that discussion now. It was getting quite heated, and i'd like this to stay a friendly place.
    Oh, I took it as friendly. Sorry I broke the thread, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliomance View Post
    Ponies, I rather like Ozymandias' guidelines. Think I might adopt those.
    Blessings on your head. I anticipate it may just shift some of the existing conversations to the Chair instead of the judge, so I thank you in advance for adding a bit of rigor to dispute screening.
    Last edited by OMG PONIES; 2015-06-26 at 06:46 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaz View Post
    Ponies, the Kim Karsdashian of GITP.
    This is what happens when they let me DM:
    Beyond the Horizon IC / OOC
    A Time to Die: Alpha IC / Bravo IC / OOC

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Ponies, the Kim Karsdashian of GITP.

    On another note, judgelings should be in tinight, or tomorrow morning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaz View Post
    judgelings
    That's me alright.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaz View Post
    Ponies, the Kim Karsdashian of GITP.
    So you basically made this to be stolen for my signature, right? No really, I'm asking permission so as not to steal your words.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaz View Post
    Ponies, the Kim Karsdashian of GITP.
    This is what happens when they let me DM:
    Beyond the Horizon IC / OOC
    A Time to Die: Alpha IC / Bravo IC / OOC

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    One of these turned out to be distressingly easy to score, so I finished a day earlier than expected.

    Spoiler: Sam Urai 5
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    Originality: 1
    Your race and classes had nothing unique in this Iron Chef round, so you get nothing for the half of Originality based on distinguishing yourself from other contestants. You also matched a build suggested in the thread (as a joke), so there was nothing surprising in those classes. Your feats were straight out of the Player's Handbook, so nothing surprising there, either.

    Power: 1.25
    Aid Shugenja requires a Spellcraft check by the Shiba Protector (as specified by the Chairwoman here), but you've never trained that skill so you're forbidden from using this class ability. You're a simple sword fighter who gets no benfit from No Thought. You don't have 5 ranks in Balance, a basic defensive need. You've got lots of Iaijutsu Focus skill, but nothing to create the flat-footed condition necessary for use of that skill. CW Samurai gives you Two-Weapon Fighting (which normally requires DEX 15) and the benefit of Quick Draw (fairly late, at level 19), so with the maximum possible BAB maybe you could get Iaijutsu Focus damage bonus on both katana and wakizashi. That slight chance of one good attack, perhaps aided by Shiba Protector One with Nothing, is about the best I can say for you in this category.

    Let's say you spend the surprise round closing with an enemy (a big supposition considering you have no ranks in Spot or Listen and are likely to be surprised instead). To gain maximum benefit from Iaijutsu Focus you have to get quite lucky. If the enemy isn't surprised they'll get to attack you right after you close with them. If they are surprised, they might have superior initiative and get to make a full attack against you in the first regular round of combat. Then you can move away, hoping that your half speed Tumble lets you get to another enemy who's still flat-footed and you'll be able to make a single melee strike, after which that new enemy gets to make their own full attack against you. Only if the first enemy is both surprised and has worse initiative will they be flat-footed and enable you to get the Iaijutsu Focus damage bonus from both katana and wakizashi.

    Shiba Protector sets a low bar for character Power. Unfortunately, you devoted so much of your resources simply to satisfying the entry requirements for a 1-level dip into Master Samurai that you didn't even measure up to that level of Power.

    Elegance: 1.5
    Contestants: You will need to present a write-up of your build at at least one of the following points: 5th level, 10th level, 15th, 20th, and a "sweet spot" that you feel is the high point of the build, as well as presenting a fully-fleshed out 20-level build in the table below.
    You failed to follow the above rule.

    You appear to have confused the OA Samurai and CW Samurai skills. You failed to spend all your skill points at OA Samurai level 1, but you did illegally include 4 ranks in two cross-class skills (Knowledge: nobility and Tumble). You didn't make any effort to distinguish skill points spent from skill rank totals in the build table.

    Your arithmetic for level 20 DEX was off.

    Your OA Samurai class gives you a katana and a wakizashi. You don't list any required gear, so that's all your character has. Your Mounted Combat and Mounted Archery feats don't help you with no horse and no bow.

    You didn't include Ancestral Daisho improvement on the OA Samurai's level 4 class features (Dragon # 318, page 34).

    You didn't follow the "use it, link it" rule.

    You failed to cite your sources.

    The story was minimalist and added nothing to help understand the build.

    Your 1-level dip into Master Samurai doesn't synergize with the SI in any significant way, so that dip hurts your score in Elegance.

    Use of Secret Ingredient: 1.25
    You entered the SI in a timely manner and took all 10 levels of Shiba Protector, but don't appear to use anything from the class. Class features No Thought and One with All and Nothing are useless because you made Wisdom a dump stat (+0 modifier). Diamond Soul would have been better-served if you had a high Wisdom, but it might still be viable against a weak caster level check. You're not even permitted to use Aid Shugenja; it requires a Spellcraft check which you can't make untrained.

    Your build also does nothing with Combat Expertise: you don't have any stratagem involving fighting defensively, nor do you build on it (take any feat which has Combat Expertise as a prerequisite). You do have enough Tumble ranks for an AC bonus when you're fighting defensively, so that at least would synergize with use of Combat Expertise.


    Spoiler: Fang Xue 11.75
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    Originality: 4
    You picked a class that was unique for this round, and which also surprised me. Your race was as expected, while your feat choices were largely novel (not necessarily effective, but still novel). Maximizing Intimidate and adding Never Outnumbered and Imperious Command was the only hackneyed bit. Overall a very good show.

    Power: 3.25
    The combination of binding Naberius and choosing [Vile] feats which cause you damage is a good one. Of course, from the time you take Insane Defiance (level 6) until you get the ability to bind 2 vestiges (level 18) you lose flexibility; you either only bind Naberius (and really hope there's not a pulpit, soap box, or stage wherever combat finds you), or you don't get the value of the abilty damage + immediate healing combo.
    you’ve got 2 vestiges handy now, and they’ll probably be either zceryll and chupoclops or balam and haures, depending on your needs.
    You don't have Expel Vestige or Rapid Pact Making, so you really don't have that flexibility. Either you're going to be using your [Vile] feats with Naberius, or you're not. You have to guess what your needs are going to be for the next 24 hours, and you're stuck even if your guess is a bad one.
    - My characters generally paint "Naberius: Talking Stick!" on the sides of all their darts, arrows, and bolts. It's really precious to have an enemy pick a missed arrow up off the ground and stand there yelling at you while you fire volley after volley at their friends.

    By the time you get Astral Vambraces many attacks will be magical and thus overcome your DR/magic. This choice is of limited value, which value declines rapidly as most attacks become magical at higher levels.

    Imperious Command is another feat of limited value to you. Simply put, intimidation is very tough without abilities beyond those you've chosen. To use the feat you must succeed at demoralizing an enemy, which attempt takes a standard action after you've invested in many skill ranks and the feat. Enemies resist with a modified level check, which costs them no special resources. Enemies of reasonable CR will maybe be a couple of HD below yours, and a maximized skill is 3 above, so that's perhaps a +5 advantage — except that's before their WIS bonus is factored in. So your 1 feat + maximized skill + standard action may yield a slightly-better-than-even chance to subject them to a fear effect for 2 rounds, and nothing if you fail. That's not good return for the investment. If you were a Zhentarim Soldier with Swift Demoralize we'd be talking a different story, but you're not. Never Outnumbered is nifty when it works, but it only affects enemies stupid enough to clump up (within 10' of you) and it's just one attempt per encounter.

    You don't qualify for Open Lesser Chakra, so that's a waste.

    You didn't list any required gear, so apparently you'll be fighting weaponless without Improved Unarmed Strike except on the days when you've bound a vestige which can attack.

    You have no ranks in Spot or Listen; you're relying on Alertness and WIS bonus to avoid surpise. (Paying for cross-class skill ranks would be better than being clueless.) You've got enough Spellcraft skill to guarantee success on the easier Aid Shugenja check (empower) but not on the more difficult one (maximize). You don't have 5 ranks in Balance, a basic defensive need. You have no Tumble skill, whereas 5 ranks would provide an AC bonus that stacks with use of Combat Expertise to fight defensively.

    Binder is a good choice to raise the Power of the overall character a bit above that of the SI, but your feats range from completely useless to situationally viable on the days you bind the right vestige.

    Elegance: 2.5
    Your build table abbreviations were hard to read. After "diplo 4" my first guess was that "sm 4" was 4 ranks in Swim.

    You failed to specify your Pact Augmentation abilities.

    Open Lesser Chakra requires CON 15, and you have 14, so the feat is illegal in the build.

    Your sources were only roughly specified. You used some links.

    Use of Secret Ingredient: 2
    You're augmenting your Wisdom, which should ordinarily work well for the SI. You've manage to put together an effective character, but that's at the expense of some Shiba Protector abilities. You've emphasized using Insane Defiance offensively. The problem from a UoSI perspective is that using Insane Defiance means that you're not using Shiba Protector abilities. If you instead use Insane Defiance defensively, you're avoiding using both Dancing with the Elements and Diamond Soul. Using Imperious Command of course means you're not using No Thought. (You might be using One with All and Nothing, but you didn't say so and it's a limited use ability.) What you did mention in your writeup doesn't actually have anything to do with the Secret Ingredient.
    If shiba protector is short-grain rice, insane defiance is the strand of saffron I add to give it taste, color, and joy.
    Yes, there's a Shiba Protector class feature that requires having Shugenja nearby. But you're not using that, and you're using a feat and a Binder class ability rather than anything from the SI. This tactic is not a spice, but a menu substitution.

    Your build also does nothing with Combat Expertise: you don't have any stratagem involving fighting defensively, nor do you build on it (take any feat which has Combat Expertise as a prerequisite).

    You list no weapons, so you can't get much out of No Thought; if you've bound a vestige like Focalor you'll get partial benefit.


    Spoiler: Shiba Daisuke 12.5
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    Originality: 2.5
    OA Samurai and Devoted Defender were used in several builds this Iron Chef round, and Crusader is duplicated in one, so you largely lose out on distinguishing yourself from the other entrants. OA Samurai is the expected entry to the SI according to the book, and I'm obviously not the only one who thought Devoted Defender was a good fit with the SI. Adding a Crusader dip, and successfully integrating it into the SI theme, was surprising. Iaijutsu Master, from the same book as the Samurai and Shiba Protector, was less surprising.

    Power: 3.75
    You've managed to bolster the capabilities of the Shiba Protector pretty successfully with your many class dips. You've got the maximum BAB compatible with the Secret Ingredient. Skill selections are less effective. You've got some ranks in Spot and Listen, but you're mostly relying on Alertness and WIS bonus to avoid being surpised; and if you're surprised your Iaijutsu Focus skill will be wasted. You've got just enough Spellcraft skill to guarantee success on both Aid Shugenja checks (empower and maximize), so that one's efficiently executed. Your Tumble skill is pathetic; you're 2 ranks short of a nice boost to defensive fighting (and you're wishy-washy about whether you'll be using heavy armor, which would preclude use of the skill). You've invested a lot in Jump without a clear use for the skill. You have just enough Ride skill to get into trouble in combat. You don't have 5 ranks in Balance, a basic defensive need.

    You don't list any necessary gear beyond the swords you get as an OA Samurai class feature, so you don't have a horse (which you can't Ride especially well anyway) or armor (which you can't use with some abilities).

    Elegance: 1.75
    Contestants: You will need to present a write-up of your build at at least one of the following points: 5th level, 10th level, 15th, 20th, and a "sweet spot" that you feel is the high point of the build, as well as presenting a fully-fleshed out 20-level build in the table below.
    You failed to follow the above rule.

    The story amounted to your character, a Shiba Protector, comes from a long line of Shibas who protect. It didn't make up for the lack of required write-ups.

    You didn't include Ancestral Daisho improvement on the OA Samurai's level 4 class features (Dragon # 318, page 34).

    You failed to cite many of your sources (everything from Player's Handbook, for instance).

    You don't list any required gear beyond the swords you get as an OA Samurai class feature.

    You didn't follow the "use it, link it" rule.

    Your build is pretty dippy, but most of those make sense in bolstering a Shiba Protector's abilities. Iron Guard’s Glare stance is the redeeming protective feature of your 1-level Crusader dip, for instance. Devoted Defender is a natural filler for more protective capabilities. However, the Iaijutsu Master dip has nothing special in it to make you a better Shiba Protector, and it's situated to delay your acquisition of more SI capabilities. It's a good fit in terms of Power, but by only bolstering your offense and personal defense rather than anything for your protectee, this dip hurts you in Elegance.

    Use of Secret Ingredient: 4.5
    Heavy investment in Wisdom gives you better use of several SI class features. Excellent all-around saves mean that with Dancing with the Elements you'll probably only get hit by spell effects when you roll a 1 for your saving throw. Two of the Shiba Protector feat requirements are passive, always-on bonuses; they don't need any tinkering. You've added a feat, Deceptive Dodge, that helps situationally (when you fight defensively), leveraging Combat Expertise. You added another feat which leverages Combat Expertise, Riposte, to create AoOs. Gaining productive use from this required feat investment is very good, though without Combat Reflexes increasing AoOs isn't necessarily productive. (I'm surprised you didn't go for Allied Defense (Shining South, page 19) to boost your protectee's AC. And I'm shocked that you managed to avoid the Tumble 5 ranks boost to defensive fighting.)

    You've got excellent synergies with the SI and your Crusader stance and especially Devoted Defender Harm’s Way.


    Spoiler: Fletcher's Flame 5.25
    Show
    Originality: 3
    With a couple of unique classes for this round, only following the pack with Devoted Defender, you score well for the part of Originality dependent on distinguishing yourself from the competition. Race is as expected. I didn't expect Hexblade, though Swordsage and Devoted Defender were unsurprising. Failing to qualify for the SI is fairly novel, but not in a good way.

    Power: 1.25
    This build ends up with 10 levels compared to the expected 20, with 2 attacks per full attack. You fail to qualify for your later maneuvers because removing the 10 Shiba Protector levels drops your Initiator Level by 5. Relative to an average level 20 martial character you're very weak.

    Elegance: 0
    You screwed the pooch by failing to satisfy the Knowledge (religion) entry requirement for Shiba Protector, so your build is mechanically illegal. You managed to satisfy the Devoted Defender entry requirements on levels other than Shiba Protector, so that's still there (assuming the Alertness qualification works, which requires that your familiar be within 5' when you gain enough XP for level advancement); your build ends up with 10 levels instead of 20 after the offending material is removed.

    There are other Elegance issues, but there's no point in rubbing salt in the wound.

    Use of Secret Ingredient: 1
    You don't use the Secret Ingredient due to a failure to qualify.


    Spoiler: Iron Bear 8.75
    Show
    Originality: 3
    Azurin was a unique race in this competition, and one I didn't expect; it was nice to see something different here. Crusader was duplicated in one other build, and Devoted Defender was fairly popular this Iron Chef round; Incarnate was your only unique class.

    Power: 2
    You've got BAB +14, which gives you 3 iterative attacks. Martial adept levels are a fairly standard way of boosting a melee fighter's Power. Your maneuver and stance selections seemed designed mostly to heal you or bolster you and your allies in melee combat. While self-healing might take the pressure off Your Shugenja spellcasting ally to keep you going, they are unlikely to benefit from melee combat boosts. Incarnate adds a little bit of utility, but not that much with only 2 levels.

    Your skill selections aren't focused. You've got some ranks in Spot but nothing in Listen; you're mostly relying on Alertness from your Soulspark Familiar and WIS bonus to avoid being surpised. You've got more than enough Spellcraft skill to guarantee success on both Aid Shugenja checks (empower and maximize), and also more than required for Spellcaster Support, so I don't see the use of the overage. Your Tumble skill is somewhat more than you need for the boost to defensive fighting, but not enough to guarantee movement without provoking AoOs. You've got enough Jump skill to give a synergy bonus to Tumble, but not enough to clear more than a single square with a running start. You've got a few ranks in Diplomacy, but not enough to matter. With Intimidate countered by a modified level check you're unlikely to achieve anything with that skill. You do have 5 ranks in Balance, a basic defensive need.

    Feats are hit or miss. Power Attack paired with Martial Stance (Aura of Perfect Order) makes sense, as it removes much of the guesswork from Power Attack calculations. Spellcaster Support is a mechanically illegal part of the build, so the fact that it's a weak feat is irrelevant. Combat Reflexes would be a much better choice if you had chosen some maneuvers or stances which provoked AoOs; as it is, you're mostly going to gain its benefit of allowing AoOs when you're flat-footed because you will be caught flat-footed a lot with weak perception skills.

    All in all, your 18-level build ends up being underpowered relative to the SI.

    Elegance: 1.5
    The favored class for Azurins is Soulborn (Magic of Incarnum, page 8), not Incarnate. Iron Bear is subject to the Uneven Levels multiclassing rule (Player's Handbook, page 60) starting after 6th character level; from that point on, continuing for the rest of the build, he's subject to a 20% reduction in XP. The XP available is enough to get to just under level 19. Accordingly, the last 2 levels of the build are mechanically illegal. You manage to gain the most important Devoted Defender protective ability, Harm's Way, and your level 18 feat, but you don't get to BAB +16 and your fourth iterative attack.

    Spellcaster Support is an [Ancestor] feat. Your terse "Sources" spoiler lists
    Spellcaster Support: Dragon Magazine OA update
    but apparently you missed this part (from Dragon # 318, page 37):
    Any character can choose an Ancestor feat, but only at 1st level.
    This isn't a legal feat at 15th level.

    Soulspark Familiar as a way to gain Alertness is a fairly risky entry to all your Shiba Protector and Devoted Defender levels. Your Soulspark Familiar could be forcibly unshaped in a battle which results in enough XP to advance to the next level, at which time you would not have Alertness to qualify for your intended class. You get to assume successful attainment of those levels in your build table, but then I get to ding you for ignoring that risk here in Elegance.

    You didn't follow the "use it, link it" rule.

    Your sources were only roughly specified.

    You mentioned only one piece of gear, a longsword.

    Use of Secret Ingredient: 2.25
    Your entry into the SI is delayed by your Incarnate levels so you can acquire Alertness, which means you're able to use the Secret Ingredient for less of the build. You emphasize Wisdom, which helps with class features No Thought, Diamond Soul, and One with All and Nothing. You've got a straightforward melee focus, so you'll get a lot of use out of No Thought to make up for low Strength. Your Fortitude save is excellent and Will is good, so you're well-situated to save against many spells with your Dancing with the Elements bonus. Reflex is low enough that even that boost may not help you.

    I was rather perplexed at your maneuver and stance selections because none of them help protect your Shugenja spellcasting friends. The other Crusader build in this Iron Chef round, Shiba Daisuke, showed that there's at least one useful protective stance, Iron Guard’s Glare. Your Shugenja ally is more likely to benefit from that than from a bonus to their charge attacks. Similarly your soulmelds don't add noticeably to your protective capabilities. You're making yourself a somewhat better fighter, but not specifically a better protector. Your 1-level dip into Devoted Defender adds Harm's Way, which is a significant plus, but you failed to pick up the next 2 levels for more protective class features, including Defensive Strike to make Combat Reflexes more useful.

    Your build also does nothing with Combat Expertise: you don't have any stratagem involving fighting defensively, nor do you build on it (take any feat which has Combat Expertise as a prerequisite). You do have enough Tumble ranks for an AC bonus when you're fighting defensively, so that at least would synergize with use of Combat Expertise.


    Spoiler: Shiba Sanjuu 8.25
    Show
    Originality: 1.5
    Your race and most (17/20 levels) of your classes were not unique in this Iron Chef round. You also matched a build suggested in the thread (as a joke), so there was nothing surprising in those classes. You get very little for the half of Originality based on distinguishing yourself from other contestants. The distinguishing classes were two small dips, Fighter and Exotic Weapon Master, and the first was unsurprising in a martial build. Your feats were mostly out of the Player's Handbook, so nothing much surprising there, either.

    Power: 1.5
    You've got the maximum BAB compatible with the Secret Ingredient. You get ease of adding weapon enhancements with Ancestral Daisho because it's a DIY project, but this doesn't give you any more gear than another 20th-level character. Your total for Ancestral Daisho enhancements is limited, independent of your funds because it's a specific class feature, so a total of +10 in katana enhancements leaves nothing available for the wakizashi. That's actually better for you, because you've set the character up to use double katanas; you simply buy a second katana and don't draw the wakizashi. You wisely avoided being locked into Two Swords as One with CW Samurai 2, and you've paid the cost in feats for this double katana combo. The problem is that you've focused a lot of build resources on being able to use those weapons, and just swinging swords well is very little to show for a 20-level build.

    You're attempting to pull off a cheesy rules bypass with Power Attack and Uncanny Blow. Weapons which may have different categorizations, such as one-handed or two-handed depending on their use, do not remain in both categories simultaneously. Uncanny Blow applies when you're wielding a (normally) one-handed exotic melee weapon in two hands, not when you're wielding the same type of one-handed exotic melee weapon in each of your two hands. You can certainly make use of Uncanny Blow, but you do it by forgoing Two-Weapon Fighting. Or vice-versa. Uncanny Blow is redundant, though, because you've got Blades of Death from Master Samurai 4, the immediate previous level in the build. The net result is you've got a bit more flexibility in how you attack, but not noticeably greater Power, relative to what would be expected at level 19, and nothing extra for level 20. I'll take your alternative of Twin Exotic Weapon Fighting here instead.

    You do have 5 ranks in Balance, a basic defensive need. You've got a fair amount of Iaijutsu Focus skill, but nothing to create the flat-footed condition necessary for use of that skill. You have just enough Ride skill to get into trouble in combat. You have excellent Tumble skill, which is a definite battlefield Power-up (if you don't throw it away by wearing Medium+ armor). You have no ranks in Spot or Listen; you're relying on Alertness and WIS bonus to avoid surpise. (Paying for cross-class skill ranks would be better than being clueless.) Aid Shugenja requires a Spellcraft check by the Shiba Protector (as specified by the Chairwoman here), but you've minimally trained that skill so you'll need a rolled 4 to succeed on the easier (DC 10) check, and a rolled 9 for the other; you'll fail to maximize a useful defensive spell from your Shugenja companion almost half the time. Relative to the Power of a Secret Ingredient that's on the weak side you're still coming up short for the 20 level build.

    Elegance: 2.5
    Your build stub claims to have 5 levels of Master Samurai, whereas the build table has 4 levels of MS and 1 level of Exotic Weapon Master. You would have been better off with the former, because Exotic Weapon Master has no special synergies with the Secret Ingredient and I penalize for dips that don't work well with the SI.

    You failed to cite many of your sources (everything from Player's Handbook, for instance).

    Your other sources were only roughly specified. You used one link.

    You did mention some critical gear, which was refreshing in this Iron Chef round. You didn't do it in an easily-digestible fashion (a single gear list), which was less so. You mention armor spikes, but not the armor necessary for their attachment. You're limited to Light armor with those spikes if you want to use your maximized Tumble skill. You're limited to no armor if you want to use the Monk's Belt you also mentioned. You can't have all of these incompatible options, and a separate gear list would probably have brought that issue to your attention.

    Use of Secret Ingredient: 2.75
    You entered the SI in a timely manner and took all 10 levels of Shiba Protector; that's good on both counts. You've emphasized your Wisdom, which helps with class features No Thought, Diamond Soul, and One with All and Nothing. You've got a simple melee focus, so you'll get a lot of use out of No Thought. Your many dips have given you excellent Fortitude and Will saves, so you're in pretty good shape to benefit from Dancing with the Elements. I've already mentioned your Spellcraft weakness with regard to Aid Shugenja.

    Making the rest of your build amplify your ability to protect your Shugenja charge is where you come up short. You've had to put so much of your build resources into satisfying the entry requirements for all your prestige classes that you've got nothing left over to be a better protector; and those PrCs themselves aren't great choices if you're trying to augment protection capabilities. Hitting things with your swords isn't enough to ensure your protectee's safety unless you can guarantee instant death to enemies, and you can't do that.

    Your build also does nothing with Combat Expertise: you don't have any stratagem involving fighting defensively, nor do you build on it (take any feat which has Combat Expertise as a prerequisite). You do have enough Tumble ranks for an AC bonus when you're fighting defensively, so that at least would synergize with use of Combat Expertise.


    Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of judging dissent.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Thank you for judging, Curmudgeon. Extremely thorough and well-reasoned.

    I have two concerns, though, not related to any particular build:

    I have never provided a source for Core material, nor can I ever recall another judge asking for sources on Core material. My understanding of the reasoning for providing sources is primarily to identify obscure sources. This helps save the judge time, but I can't imagine that citing the PHB would help much in this regard. It might even make finding the more obscure sources harder if I have to dig my way through a list of PHB citations.

    You mention "required equipment" several times, but many other Iron Chef judges have a long history of warning off and penalizing contestants who rely too heavily on equipment, so much so that I believe it's common practice to not include any equipment discussion. I personally prefer no mention of equipment at all, as I want to see how a build stands on its own without equipment. If you prefer otherwise, then it would be good to add that to your judging criteria. Edit: it was in the criteria, I just missed it. My fault for not reading carefully.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    Thank you for judging, Curmudgeon. Extremely thorough and well-reasoned.

    I have two concerns, though, not related to any particular build:

    I have never provided a source for Core material, nor can I ever recall another judge asking for sources on Core material. My understanding of the reasoning for providing sources is primarily to identify obscure sources. This helps save the judge time, but I can't imagine that citing the PHB would help much in this regard. It might even make finding the more obscure sources harder if I have to dig my way through a list of PHB citations.

    You mention "required equipment" several times, but many other Iron Chef judges have a long history of warning off and penalizing contestants who rely too heavily on equipment, so much so that I believe it's common practice to not include any equipment discussion. I personally prefer no mention of equipment at all, as I want to see how a build stands on its own without equipment. If you prefer otherwise, then it would be good to add that to your judging criteria.
    Agreed on both points.

    We do not list equipment at all in iron chef. It's part of how the contest is run. mentioning any equipment will result in a penalty for being "item-reliant," and unlike very very early rounds, it's not necessary to say you want a +stat item or a tome since it can be understood to be something you'd use your WBL for, much less mundane equipment like armor, weapons, or a horse.
    Last edited by Venger; 2015-06-27 at 02:13 PM.
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    I have never provided a source for Core material, nor can I ever recall another judge asking for sources on Core material.
    I thought that was implicit in the "use it, link it" rule. I did pretty well with my first Iron Chef entry and I thought it was a basic courtesy to the judges to include online links where available, and book and page number otherwise. Having class and feat requirements available with one click makes judging better: both quicker and less prone to missing something important.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin
    I personally prefer no mention of equipment at all, as I want to see how a build stands on its own without equipment. If you prefer otherwise, then it would be good to add that to your judging criteria.
    I thought I had that covered.
    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    If your character relies on gear you need to list all such equipment requirements, just as you would specify a Culinique pan in a Baked Alaska recipe.
    Some feats, like Mounted Combat and Mounted Archery, may be taken for no other reason than that they're required for entry to a PrC (Master Samurai). If instead the build creator intends the character to actually have and use both horse and bow, those items should be listed as necessary equipment. I don't make any presumptions. Characters get one set of clothing and whatever is stated as class features (a spellbook for Wizards, katana and wakizashi for OA Samurai). Beyond that, they've got what's stated by the build author.

    Your preference requires that spellcasters be able to function without a spell component pouch and most martial characters rely on unarmed combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    We do not list equipment at all in iron chef. It's part of how the contest is run.
    If you can convince the Chairwoman to include that in the contest rules I'll agree. As it is, I think you're just advocating laziness.
    Last edited by Curmudgeon; 2015-06-27 at 02:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    I thought that was implicit in the "use it, link it" rule.
    "Use it, link it" appears in the FAQ rather than the contest rules, so I am not sure if it explicitly counts as a rule or "good advice". And as written, it only applies to online sources rather than books or Core materials. If the majority of judges insists on a URL for every source, including Core, then I think we can consider adding that as a rule, but at present I'm content with "online sources = link, book outside Core = citation".


    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon
    If your character relies on gear you need to list all such equipment requirements, just as you would specify a Culinique pan in a Baked Alaska recipe.
    Aha! Found it. Egregious reading failure on my part.

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    Your preference requires that spellcasters be able to function without a spell component pouch and most martial characters rely on unarmed combat.
    You must be joking. This level of pedantry is beneath you. I think I can speak for most contestants when I say I am not going to waste my time listing basic equipment and spell components.

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    If you can convince the Chairwoman to include that in the contest rules I'll agree. As it is, I think you're just advocating laziness.
    Not at all. The rules and common practice already discourage listing equipment. Meeting your requirements would be a change in the existing rules.

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    You mention "required equipment" several times, but many other Iron Chef judges have a long history of warning off and penalizing contestants who rely too heavily on equipment, so much so that I believe it's common practice to not include any equipment discussion. I personally prefer no mention of equipment at all, as I want to see how a build stands on its own without equipment.
    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    We do not list equipment at all in iron chef. It's part of how the contest is run. mentioning any equipment will result in a penalty for being "item-reliant," and unlike very very early rounds, it's not necessary to say you want a +stat item or a tome since it can be understood to be something you'd use your WBL for, much less mundane equipment like armor, weapons, or a horse.
    Are these statements really accurate? I would have framed this a bit differently from my (mostly lurker-y) view of Iron Chef rounds over the years. Something more like "some past judges were so strict on treating any mention of equipment as over-reliance on it that now people are afraid to mention it." Which I view as more of an unfortunate result of poor judging choices in the past, and a persistent problem, than as "just the way we do things around here."

    I didn't do my judging on as strict a "no assumptions" policy as Curmudgeon; I assume that melee builds have access to weapons and armor, spellcasters have access to scrolls and component pouches, UMD-users have access to wands of common spells, etc. Assuming that any equipment not explicitly mentioned is non-existent seems excessively pedantic to me.

    But if I were ever in a position to judge a build that benefited from some item or class of items in particular (e.g., a demoralize build wanting Fearsome armor; a build using a +stat item to qualify for something; an Iaijutsu Focus build performing best with Gnomish Quickrazors; etc.), I would want that to be included in the write-up. Some of these things I can see for myself reading a build (any build that uses the demoralize action is going to want Fearsome armor), but others I might not think of unless they're pointed out to me. Like, does your War Weaver-based arcane healer build have enough ranks in UMD and Heal to make effective use of a wand of Healing Lorecall to remove status effects when it casts healing spells? Awesome! Please mention this or I will never figure it out on my own.

    If I'd realized how strongly ingrained the whole "the first rule of Iron Chef is you don't talk about equipment" thing was, I'd have been more careful to emphasize in my criteria that I would only be penalizing for over-reliance on excessively specific and not-necessarily available equipment, and that part of the whole "please include a write-up of what your build is actually supposed to do" thing was some level of description of the gear that would help it do that stuff, if the equipment used particularly mattered.

    In my view, the notion of "over-reliance on equipment" is to penalize builds that are so reliant on some particular item that they just can't be brought to any table where that item doesn't exist, or become paperweights if their MacGuffin is ever stolen as a plot device by the DM (for the same reason that, if it weren't banned for this competition, I'd penalize builds that relied heavily on an Item Familiar). If that notion is being interpreted so broadly that people are afraid to mention that part of what's cool about their build is that it makes particularly good use of Widget X if it's available, then that seems like a problem to me. And if that actually is the policy, then A) that policy sucks, and should be changed, and B) Curmudgeon's right, it needs to be specified in the rules.
    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    Not at all. The rules and common practice already discourage listing equipment. Meeting your requirements would be a change in the existing rules.
    Common practice might. I don't see it anywhere in the rules...
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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimisation Challenge in the Playground LXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    Where was this from? It wasn't in the judging criteria you posted at the start of this thread.
    Check again. The quote includes the link to my judging criteria post.

    Edit: I see we've resolved this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    "Use it, link it" appears in the FAQ rather than the contest rules, so I am not sure if it explicitly counts as a rule or "good advice". And as written, it only applies to online sources rather than books or Core materials.
    All the SRD (most of core D&D) is online source material, so there's no "rather than" distinction.
    Last edited by Curmudgeon; 2015-06-27 at 03:36 PM.

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